Cost of Beautification

by Marisa Olsen


Cost of beauty; remember the days of $1Wet & Wild nail polishes, or thick, chalky, dare-I-say lip liner that you could even casually try on if no one was looking at the local pharmacy? Those were the days. Now, as we age and our supple 20-something skin elasticity begins to fade (weep, weep, but seriously, a few subtle lines have begun to slowly creep on my face), and as our culture’s status quo shop-online-and-have-a-bagillion choices continues to cultivate (Hello Marketing Department at Sephora!), we are bombarded with expensive potions, lotions, make up and pills that claim to revamp nature’s course. Here is my question; why does cream of the sea NEED to cost $125 for 1oz? Is it really that great? Some say yes. When asked to comment on her favorite product, my dear friend, Ms. C. Brewer simply responded: “Oh my, was I spotted at Neiman’s stocking up?” Enough said—clearly this is a cult classic. But can the go-to, fraction of the cost, dermatologist recommended Neutrogena deliver the same results? And why is choosing a product confusing? Ok, we can go with the natural, cost friendly Burt’s Bees, but then I look to my right and there is another product with not only shea butter, but it has almonds AND helioplex. The choices are ridiculous. Lately, I’ve been trying to narrow in on Bumble & bumble and who can blame me? Cute packaging, great reviews and a nice price tag to match (the perfect equation for my consumer self to fall for the trap). That being said, I splurged on the B&b Styling Creme for $30 (ok, I lied, it was only $22 with my Extra Care Rewards Points from CVS, another consumer trend that I conveniently fell into). The bottle reads: “In a word-magic.” I was intrigued. After using the crème and my Bed Head Superstar Lotion for volume (half the price of B&b), I was impressed. My hair truly looked coiffed. Now I’m not saying Jackie O coiffed, but still, I noticed a real improvement. My affirmations were confirmed when I arrived to work where three of my coworkers complimented me on my hair (please keep in mind that I only work with four employees, so I have a 75% hair approval rate). Does money really buy good products? I guess the jury is still out for tomorrow’s result.
Now as we matriculate into more expensive products, when does it stop? What about Botox? Do we go there? By the time we’re 40 will it be an everyday routine, much like flossing (hardly) or applying an anti wrinkle eye cream? I’d like to think that by the time we actually need Botox, there will be a natural, non-poisonous alternative.
Let’s backtrack to the world “natural.” Let’s face it, we’re going Green these days. I remember when the three R’s, reduce, reuse, recycle were the big rage and in Grade School and we’d all take practicing shots into the blue bins with our tin foil balls. But like Grade School, we have graduated. Now we’re into non comedogenic, fragrance free, all naturally, organic products, which are inundating the market. Heck, they’re even building Green hotels with Zagat-like star ratings, judging the amount of “green” air. Funny, as I opened up Sephora’s website to research a few organic products, the home browser was dedicated to the Green movement, displaying the slogan: Be As Natural As You Want To Be--Natural, Organic, Paraben Free? Find Out What It All Means.” It’s not enough that Leo and Lori David are preaching it, even our prime make up supplier is shouting it from the rooftops. I guess our favorite intoxicating alcohol smelling hair spray is passé too. I guess I’m falling for the craze, but am I better for it? Good bye Cover Girl pressed powder foundation with orange greasy smears. Instead, I use a mineral-based face powder by FX for $30. Expensive, I know, but at least I’m more au natural.
Thanks for listening to my trite quips as I try to untangle my way through this complicated underworld of beauty products.
Just when did life get so complicated? But don't worry, I'll be sure to make up for this shallow commentary with an insightful look into Ahmadinejad's rule or the current state of the U.S. economy. Thanks for coming!